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Civil Rights

Laws Protect People Living with HIV/AIDS

If you are living with HIV/AIDS, you are protected against discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Under these laws, discrimination means that you are not allowed to participate in a service that is offered to others, or you are denied a benefit, because of your HIV disease.

For more information, see the Office of Civil Rights’ Civil Rights: HIV/AIDS.

Federal Law

Both Section 504 and the ADA prohibit discrimination against qualified persons, including those with HIV/AIDS. Section 504 prohibits health and human service providers or organizations that get Federal funds or assistance from discriminating against you because you are living with HIV/AIDS. The ADA also protects your family and friends from discrimination because of YOUR HIV status.

Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination by state and local government entities, even if they don’t get Federal funding. Examples of entities that may be covered by Section 504 and the ADA include hospitals, clinics, social services agencies, drug treatment centers, and nursing homes. Again, under these laws, discrimination means that you are not allowed to participate in a service that is offered to others, or you are denied a benefit, because of your HIV disease.

For more information, see OCR’s Your Rights Under Section 504 and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Privacy

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) also enforces the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which protects the privacy of your health information and gives you the right to review and make corrections to your medical records. For more information, see OCR’s Health Information Privacy, Civil Rights, or How to File a Complaint.

If you are a woman living with HIV/AIDS, you may face particular challenges around discrimination—but there are things you can do to protect yourself. For more information, see the Office on Women’s Health’s Women and HIV: Your Rights.

Last revised: 06/01/2012